This month’s selection of new mystery novels has an international flavour, with four translated mysteries, from France, Italy, Norway and Sweden. There is also a debut mystery from Arjum Gaind, set in India in1909, titled A very pukka murder: a Maharaja mystery that comes highly recommended.
The sleepwalker : a novel / Chris Bohjalian.
“When a sleepwalker who has experienced episodes of near violence while unconscious goes missing, her eldest daughter, Lianna, finds herself drawn to a lead detective who seems to know more than he is revealing.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Black water lilies / Michel Bussi ; translated from the French by Shaun Whiteside.
“Giverny, is during the day, the home of the famous artist Claude Monet and the gardens where he painted his waterlilies. But once the tourists have gone, there is a darker side to the peaceful French village. This is the story of thirteen days that begin with one murder and end with another.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The falling detective / Christoffer Carlsson ; translated by Michael Gallagher.
“The second instalment in the internationally bestselling Leo Junker series. Leo Junker is back in the homicide unit, after a murder case where he was the intended victim. Still abusing prescription drugs and battling his inner demons, he’s doing his best to appear fit for duty. A sociologist named Thomas Heber is found murdered. The only clues the police have to work with are Heber’s cryptic research notes, which indicate that someone else’s life is also under threat, but who? Leo is put on the Heber case with his former nemesis Gabriel Birck, but when the case is abruptly reassigned to the Swedish Security Service, he realizes this is no ordinary street mugging.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
A very pukka murder : a Maharaja mystery / Arjun Raj Gaind.
“Major William Russell, the English Resident of the princely state of Rajpore, is found dead the morning after the 1909 New Year’s Ball. The fabulously wealthy Maharaja of Rajpore, a lover of luxury cars and beautiful women, cannot resist a mystery and, over the objections of the local Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police, attempts to solve the crime. As the British authorities dispatch their own investigator from Simla, His Highness deals with the growing hostility of the English Establishment, learning that Major Russell was not as pukka, as proper, as he liked to pretend.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The last act of Hattie Hoffman / Mindy Mejia.
“Seventeen-year-old Hattie Hoffman is a talented actress, loved by everyone in her Minnesotan hometown. When she’s found stabbed to death on the opening night of her school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of the community.Local sheriff Del Goodman, a close friend of Hattie’s dad, vows to find her killer, but the investigation yields more secrets than answers: it turns out Hattie played as many parts offstage as on.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The unseen witness : power and vanity meets danger and death / Grant Peake.
“Power and vanity meets danger and death. Shortly after the suspicious death of his best friend, a mysterious note appears on desk of Private Investigator Paul O’Shea. Desperate to get to the bottom of things, O’Shea and his secretary, Donna Weston, decide to take the law into their own hands. The pair soon find themselves in the midst of a series of disturbing killings. In order to crack the case Paul and Donna must uncover a long-kept secret that has been fiercely guarded for decades.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The birdwatcher / William Shaw.
“Police Sergeant William South has a reason for not wanting to be on the murder investigation. He is a murderer himself. But the victim was his only friend; like him, a passionate birdwatcher. South is warily partnered with the strong-willed Detective Sergeant Alexandra Cupidi, newly recruited to the Kent coast from London. Together they find the body, violently beaten, forced inside a wooden chest. Only rage could kill a man like this. South knows it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Where roses never die / Gunnar Staalesen ; translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett.
“Mette Misvaer, a three-year-old girl, disappears without trace from the sandpit outside her home. Her family and community are devastated, but their enquiries and the police produce nothing. Almost 25 years later, Mette’s mother approaches PI Varg Veum, in a last, desperate attempt to find out what happened to her daughter. As Veum starts to dig, he uncovers an intricate web of secrets.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The third sin / Aline Templeton.
“Pleasure is the highest good: the group who called themselves the Cyrenaics practised the principle until the death of one from an overdose and the apparent suicide of another. Sobered, the group went their several ways. One heads to Canada, another disappears and a third is believed to have committed suicide, at least until his body turns up two years later in the wreck of a car swept up on to the Solway mud flats. The murky relationships among the Cyrenaics, revived when they start returning for a party bring more pain and death. DI Marjory Fleming finds this and the murder which follows on her own patch, obstructed by the unpleasant and resentful inspector she has been asked to direct.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Death in the Tuscan hills / Marco Vichi ; translated by Stephen Sartarelli.
“Spring, 1967. The trail of tragedy and destruction that followed the previous winter’s flood seems to have died down; Florence is beginning to recover. But Inspector Bordelli does not feel the same sense of relief, he has not had a moment’s peace since his investigation of a young boy’s murder went disastrously wrong. Unsettled and embittered, Bordelli resigns from the force and leaves the city. Now, in the solitude of his new home in the Tuscan hills, he spends his days cooking, going for long walks and learning to grow his own vegetables. But the thought of that case, of justice not served, is constantly with him. Until fate, in which he has never believed, unexpectedly offers him the chance of retribution.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)